Cornelius Van Vorst (1794-1852) was a sixth generation namesake of the 17th century Jersey City patriarch Cornelius Van Vorst and the grandson son of Lt. Colonel Cornelius Van Vorst. Van Vorst inherited the old homestead and farm located west of the Paulus Hook tract and south of Newark Avenue.
This Cornelius Van Vorst inherited his grandfather's enterprising spirit. He became interested in promoting the development of the farm lands and in 1841 he helped to establish a new and independent municipality called Van Vorst Township. He mapped out a new grid plan for the area and donated land for a public park to be called Van Vorst Square.
Van Vorst's land holdings included property at the present south side of Wayne Street. There two stately Greek Revival style mansions were built on this property in the 1830s. Dr. William Barrow, of New York City, became the owner of the mansion at No. 83 Wayne Street (see Barrow Mansion) while Cornelius Van Vorst lived next door at No. 89. Barrow and Van Vorst were related by marriage as Van Vorst's first wife, Sarah Brower, was the younger sister of Dr. Barrow's wife, Eliza.
In the interest of progress, Van Vorst had the old farmhouse taken down around 1835. Its date of original construction remains unknown. The lithograph reproduced here depicts the old Van Vorst farmhouse as a traditional Dutch colonial style dwelling that was common throughout the region.
Cornelius Van Vorst was widowed a second time in 1849. He had a total of eight children. After he died in 1852, his second child, who was also named Cornelius (born March 7, 1822) briefly followed his father's path as a public servant and served as mayor of Jersey City during the first part of the Civil War (1860-1862). He later moved to Delaware where he resided until his death in 1909.
The Van Vorst house at 89 Wayne Street was sold to Dr. Benjamin Edge in 1874 whose family occupied the it for many years. The building was sold at auction by Nelson J.H. Edge in 1925. The Wayne Court Apartments were built around 1927 and continue to occupy the site.
Mills, W. Jay. Historic Houses of New Jersey. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1902.
Winfield, Charles H. History of the County of Hudson, New Jersey. New York: Kennard
& Hay Printing Company, 1874.